Meet our new national Judo champion

28th April 2020

We are proud of the exceptional sporting achievements of our pupils over many years and know that you are as delighted as us to share in their successes. So today we would like to tell you about Leah Thakur – our latest national champion.

Leah has picked up a gold medal at the British Schools’ Judo Championships which followed victory in last year’s Midland Championships. The win now sees her added to a talent programme led by the sport’s national governing body.

Leah was entered into the national championships by the North Birmingham Judo Club, and she took gold in the under 48kg category.

The event was held in Sheffield during March prior to the introduction of the Covid-19 lockdown.

A new champion is crowned

Neil Harrison is head coach at the North Birmingham Judo Club and has worked very closely with Leah in her judo development programme. The club has had an amazing impact on Leah’s progress and Neil has always kept us fully informed about how well Leah has been doing in her chosen sport. He takes up the story:

“Leah represented St Dominic’s with great success. Leah’s hard work and dedication to training resulted in her winning the gold medal and British Schoolgirl title in the under 48kg bracket – a result which requires a great level of commitment.

“She has already achieved the highest result possible at schoolgirl level, in what is termed the pre-cadet age group, under 14. She is now on a talent programme led by the national governing body and we hope to see her continue to develop as she moves up into the cadet age group.”

A thriving international sport

“As a sport, the International Judo Federation currently has 205 member countries and the spread of medals at the Olympics across countries is one of the widest. These numbers are the result of huge global participation figures and the highly competitive nature of the sport.

“In the UK there are currently about 35,000 active judoka, with female participation being particularly strong for a combat sport. The skill variables in judo are vast compared to many other traditional sporting disciplines and the physical conditioning required to compete with success is exceptional.”

We are extremely grateful to Neil and his team for helping Leah make such terrific progress. She has worked really hard, showing exceptional levels of skill and determination and fully deserves this success.

Success is nothing new to Leah, of course, she has won competitions before – culminating last year in her midland championships win – but this has really taken her to another level and we are delighted that Leah has now been added to the national talent programme. We are all extremely proud of her.